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I've just read Matt Coker's A Clockwork Orange, following a reference in the newsgroup alt.disney.disneyland ("In the Shadow of the Mouse," March 12). We've just returned from our first trip to Disneyland, which was also our children's first trip to any Disney park. They're 9 and 7 and were over the moon about it. We stayed at one of the motels on Harbor Boulevard, which Coker would probably include in his "fleabag motel" category. The one we stayed in, Tropicana Inn, while basic, was clean and well-maintained; had a courteous, helpful staff; and enabled us to stay within a five-minute walk of the main gate without having to take out a mortgage on our first-born! We also ate in the restaurants along this strip a number of nights while we were there, and again, while the choices are hardly haute cuisine, they are well-suited to families visiting with young children.
Given that a trip to Disneyland will always be primarily a family holiday-and families with young kids at that-I think the facilities on Harbor Boulevard enable families such as ours to enjoy a trip to one of the meccas of their young children's minds at a reasonable cost by providing basic accommodations and food at reasonable prices. Judging by the occupancy of our motel in what is accepted as a low season, I'd say we're not alone in our appreciation of these facilities. There are many other places where we could spend our tourist dollars. So you might do well to remember that before blindly disparaging the facilities that allow them to be spent in Orange County rather than elsewhere.
-Michael Martin, via e-mail
Matt Coker responds: There's nothing wrong with affordable lodging, and I applaud you for staying somewhere other than a fleabag that survives on hourly rates or a $200 per night hotel that exploits its migrant workers. However, while I'd be the last to suggest Harbor Boulevard should look like some main drag in Irvine-otherwise known as Stepford West-I do hope for a day when the boulevard is not such a drastic clash of signs, themes and architecture. I'm delighted you and your brood had a good time in Anaheim. But you got to go home; we live with Harbor every day.
Loved the article about Disneyland. However, Coker might want to get his facts right. Walt Disney is not cryonicly frozen. If you want to see pictures of his death certificate, burial marker, will and other "facts," check out this Web site: www.snopes.simplenet.com/disney/waltdisn/frozen.htm.
-Eric Gerds, via e-mail
Coker responds again: Oh, Eric, poor, naive, trusting Eric. . . .
Tony Pignataro's "Something's Stinky" (El Toro Airport Watch No. 97, March 12) is right! Tony stinks as a reporter. While he measures drops in passengers out of John Wayne Airport (JWA), he completely ignores the overall volume of flights. JWA is and has been close to total capacity. Tony examines the smaller part of JWA, commercial airlines, and ignores 80 percent of the traffic-general aviation.
Poor Tony can't write, and he surely can't do simple arithmetic. Overall operations rose at JWA in January, and on the average, a plane lands at or takes off from JWA every 79 seconds around the clock (34,765 operations in January 1999).
JWA is the third-busiest airport in Southern California and the sixth busiest in the USA! El Toro is needed for future increased volume, and you should fire idiots who can't figure this out.
-Bob Wolff, Newport Beach
Anthony Pignataro responds: Wolff concedes my point-that passenger traffic out of JWA is falling even as the number of flights remains steady. This fact can mean just two things: that many of the planes leaving JWA do so at less than capacity, and that the county's claim that we need El Toro International Airport is based on smoke, mirrors and a lot of bad statistics.
MORE FUN WITH HO
Vu Nguyen's story ("Why I Hate Ho Chi Minh," Feb. 19) is precious and should be told over and over. Do not forget where you come from and how you got to where you are. However, you may want to look at the big picture of the Vietnam War and the role the U.S. government played in it.
Why do Americans tell you to "get on with it?" Perhaps they understand/acknowledge their mistakes for being greedy and got on with their lives. Once you understand the big picture of the Vietnam War from all sides, you can shed your hatred for Uncle Ho.
Uncle Ho was a communist by happenstance . . . a geographical happenstance. The U.S. picked South Vietnam, and the Russians picked North Vietnam. They ripped our country apart. We allowed them to because we were trying to rip each other off. Let's reflect on our lessons learned here. Uncle Ho is the oppressor and the oppressed, depending on which side of the fence you happen to be on.
-Vonn B. Tran, Houston, Texas